Fear, Fruity Pebbles, and Possum Piss
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Lancashire, UK
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Re: ROH on SBG Discussion Thread
Bryan Danielson vs AJ Styles - Main Event Spectacular, November 1st 2003
I don't know anything about ROH, but Danielson is introduced as making his return so I'm guessing he was out for a while. Some of the fans are chanting "Welcome Back" which is nice.
The initial lock-up is well done as it instantly feels like a struggle. Both men are trying to establish the immediate advantage but neither can quite get there. They both keep trying to gain control as they spill to the outside and go all the way around the ring and then back into the ring before breaking it up, both men frustrated at not being able to gain control. It straight away made things feel intense and real and genuinely competitive.
Bryan shows focus early on, going to work on AJ's left arm. Is Bryan a heel in the match? Bryan seems cocky and arrogant here and he does it so well. Then it's LOL moment as he singles out an audience member who must've been heckling something at him. "WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW ABOUT WRESTLING? SHUT YOUR MOUTH!" and everyone laughs. This match is already great and we're in the early stages still.
I liked how the match flowed by Bryan's arm control segment to AJ's control segment targeting Bryan's left knee. The match goes to the outside where Styles uses the steel barrier to damage Bryan's knee and bust it open. Back in the ring, Bryan tries to reverse the figure four but then can't capitalize on it and AJ wastes no time in getting right back on Bryan. It's hilarious again as Bryan taunts AJ to kick him harder, so AJ responds by kicking him in the head over and over, much to the delight of the fans. I love the intensity of both men. There's a little bit of showboating from Bryan at various stages but no showing off from Style who seems to be all business.
Other things that jumped out at me were Bryan's ridiculously good flying forearm from the second rope which looked and sounded nasty as hell. There's also a moment where Styles attempts a move from the top rope but Bryan catches him and reverses it into a wonderful throw/suplex. Bryan's moves look and sound painful but he exectes them so well.
Styles is no slouch during the match so I should throw some praise his way. Towards the end, he hits an unbelievable backwards somersault kick to Bryan's head which looks amazing. The impressive thing, however is that right up to the end it still looks like either men could get the win here because they've traded control numerous times and looked to be on the brink of victory but it's never turned into a spotfest. Both men remain smart throughout, often going back to the injured body part from earlier in the match. Ultimately, AJ Styles picks up the win but both men leave this one looking pretty great.
Any reservations I had about ROH being like so many other INDY promotions in that it's full of spot wrestling were put to bed here. Great psychology, great pacing, entertaining control segments by both guys and some impressive reversals too. ****1/4